Sometimes you have to reinvent the wheel because it turns out it never got invented in the first place. An object lesson over on these two MetaTalk threads of MetaFilter, about which I wrote an LRB article recently. The subject is whether or not men dominate the space and how they do it. I got involved reading a conversation started by a post about a flasher. Women were talking about their experiences. Very rare to see so many women involved in the comments. Suddenly the thread wasn't there any more. The moderators had deemed it a bad post, which always overrides a good discussion. So I was told when I set up another post on the same topic which was deleted because it was 'making a point' and that isn't what MetaFilter was about either.
My mistake. I didn't remember that you have to accept the rules of a place when it isn't collectively run. But the complaint threads developed, and women began to say how uncomfortable they felt with the 'boyzone' talk, and some of the men fought back with talk of zealots, how women always make victims of themselves instead of getting on the right wavelength...oh god, all that stuff, decades and decades gone by, and there it all is. Someone suggested I was having a fit of the vapours (and the thread is headlined 'Hysterics') and when I objected was told that it was a joke, ironic, dontcha get it.
There are a handful of men who are agreeing that the ethos is bad, and fighting their corner, insisting that women claiming they find it hard to participate ought to be listened to. It's a proper discussion, dismal in places, but as clear a description of how not very much has changed since the Seventies as can be got. The discussion that eventually is being had is the upside of MetaFilter, just as, it seems to me, the privileging of 'best of the web' posts over debate is the downside.
Worth looking, if you're feeling strong. But I think I've done with the site. I'm 60 years old, and it's too tiring (actually shocking) still to be told that a discussion by women about their experiences of being flashed is
like manna from Heaven for the toolbelt manhaters that roam Metafilter with a fried chicken leg in one hand and Camila Paglia's panties in the other. More succinctly, it massages their prejudices.